Dominique Ray was put to death for the murder of a 15-year-old girl, Tiffany Harville, whose body was found in a cotton field in Dallas County, Alabama.
On July 15, 1995, Mary Coleman gave her daughter, Tiffany, who was a student at Selma High School, $6 before she left her home in Selma to attend a work event.
When she returned the following day, Tiffany was gone.
AL reported that Coleman contacted the Selma Police Department and reported Tiffany missing, which prompted a city-wide search.
When Ray found out that Tiffany’s family was passing out fliers in Selma, he offered to help. He also offered to help with the reward money, and he would often call her family to check on them.
Following a month-long search, Tiffany was found dead on Aug. 16, 1995. A man operating a tractor along County Road 62 in Dallas County encountered skeletal remains in a cotton field.
The remains were sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science for identification. A local pathologist later identified the remains as those of Tiffany.
An autopsy revealed that Tiffany sustained “a dozen defects in the skull consistent with stab wounds caused by a knife,” The Leagle reported. “Three of those defects were of sufficient severity that the weapon had penetrated the skull and entered the brain area, inflicting fatal trauma.”
“Other marks on the bones of the hands and wrist were consistent with defensive-type wounds.”
Although the Selma Police Department and Dallas County Sheriff’s Department worked diligently to find Tiffany’s killer, her case went unsolved for two years.
It wasn’t until 1997 that Marcus Owden, who was incarcerated at the time, approached an officer and stated that Ray had killed Tiffany after they raped her.
Owden told police that Ray had several conversations with him about wanting to have sexual intercourse with the teen.
Ray confessed to the killing, but he told investigators that Owden was the aggressor.
Police learned through an investigation that on the night of July 15, 1995, Ray and Owden picked up Tiffany at her home and then drove to the Sardis community, near Highway 41.
While there, Ray began making sexual advances toward Tiffany. She rejected him and told him to stop, but he disregarded her demand and proceeded to rape her.
According to Alabama, Owden also raped her as she screamed, “God, help me.”
Afterward, Ray slit Tiffany’s throat and repeatedly stabbed her before removing her clothing and taking $6 from her purse. He then drove to a cotton field outside of town, discarded her remains, and fled the area.
In 1999, Ray was convicted of murdering Tiffany, and he was subsequently sentenced to death.
Ray was already incarcerated, serving a life sentence for the murders of two brothers, Reinhard Mabins, 13, and 18-year-old Ernest Mabins.
Court documents showed that Ray shot and killed the brothers in February 1994 when they were reluctant to join his gang.
The Alabama Supreme Court ordered Ray’s execution to be carried out on Feb. 7, 2019, at the Holman Correctional Facility.
However, the federal appeals court thwarted the execution a day before it was scheduled after Ray argued his religious rights were being violated by not allowing an imam to be present in the execution chambers.
Ray asked if his imam, Yusef Maisonet, could stand next to him during the procedure, but he was told: “Only prison employees were allowed in the chamber for security reasons,” the LA Times reported.
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way, allowing the execution to continue without an imam in the chamber.
Ray was the first inmate of 2019 to be put to death in the state of Alabama.
He was pronounced dead at 10:12 p.m. at the age of 42, according to the HuffPost. Maisonet reportedly witnessed the execution from a witness room.
Owden is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at William Donaldson Correctional Facility.